Superb stuff on the telly

2015 has continued what has been, of late, a golden era of television.

It is hard to pick a show to top the year, but the second series of Fargo, screening at the moment on Sky's SoHo channel, must float somewhere near the top of the pool, as must The Affair.

Paranoid spy thriller Homeland has also had a return to form in season five.

Fargo - series one has screened on Prime and series two is available on Neon - has plotted a dark and often bizarre and violent course.

Set in 1979 as a prequel to series one, the show has left a trail of bodies, storytelling devices and unexplained UFO sightings as State Trooper Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) and Sheriff Hank Larsson (the wonderful Ted Danson) try to make sense of deadly gang warfare around North Dakota.

With Peggy Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst) and her husband Ed (Jesse Plemons, the straight-looking but evil Todd Alquist in Breaking Bad) the darkly quirky show follows the brutal story through the forested and frozen landscape of the United States north, and must be seen by those with taste.

The Affair explores the fallout of an extramarital relationship between Noah Solloway and Alison Lockhart (Dominic West, who was Jimmy McNulty in The Wire, and Ruth Wilson).

Series two has become increasingly anxious as Noah falls into selfish and self-serving ways, and makes difficult viewing.

It is completely brilliant (and will be back for series three).

Homeland is back to form after a couple of less excellent series.

All three should be found and watched.

The television landscape, of course has become increasingly complex.

Sky chief executive John Fellet recently described the situation to Remotely Interesting by drawing a Venn diagram with a larger circle representing television as we knew it until recently, and a smaller circle representing newer digital and streaming platforms.

That smaller circle, he said, would increase in size, and it was up to Sky to keep up with that technology.

The content was the key, he said, though making money from it in the internet age would be a challenge for all broadcasters.

We would just like to note we were at a lavish, boozy red carpet event at the Auckland waterfront at the time, the sort of luxury event at which Remotely Interesting feels most at home.

Meanwhile, things to get very excited about during summer (this is the last column for the year) include the Royal Variety Performance from the Royal Albert Hall in the presence of recent South Island visitor HRH Prince Henry of Wales, on TV One.

Look forward to Sir Elton John and Kylie Minogue - I will.

And whatever you do, don't miss the Queen's Christmas message.

Merry Christmas.

Charles Loughrey 

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